How To Keep A Remote Team Together In A Pandemic

For anyone who has never worked remotely, this pandemic might just be one of the worst things to happen to them, especially for individuals who seem to work better in the same physical space with colleagues.

However, the current social climate demands for remote work. It has become inevitable and now, teams have to find a way to work remotely. But to succeed at this and make the transition to remote working as smooth as possible, here are a few things to consider:

 

Remember You Are Home

Working remotely during a pandemic is a different ball game. Do not expect your teammates to immediately give the same energy they would at the office if they are not on the same page as you are. They are home, which means the “I’m at home” vibe will kick in. They may procrastinate, or lounge on the couch and decide not check-in or complete daily tasks and this could lead to a long chain of unproductivity in your team. You must understand that everyone is dealing with the pandemic differently. Also, remember they are working from home and there are many factors that may disrupt their work flow, factors like random domestic errands, emergency situations, social media, TV. These are normal situations that may tend to reduce a remote team’s productivity, but understanding that these factors will come up sometimes will help you adjust your schedule to attend to them without causing a decline in productivity.

 

Communication Is Key

Now more than ever, it is important for remote teams to stay in touch more often. This makes sure that attention and support is given to each team member to ensure the team’s success. Here’s how you can do this :

  • Set up a comfortable virtual workspace: This is more important than you think it is. Using the right platform for your virtual workplace is a huge bonus to your team’s productivity, your virtual workspace should be unique and should aid effective communication between teammates. It should also allow for flexibility. Slack is a great app to help your team stay productive and connected.
  • Plan your daily virtual meetings carefully: Set time aside to ask team members if they fully understand their tasks. Clarify work priorities by asking team members if they’ve got any more questions concerning the day’s tasks, what issues might be affecting their work and how you can solve them. Also, set a time to do a weekly assessment of the team’s productivity. This will help to know the strengths and weaknesses of the team and how to help fix them.
  • Have time for unplanned and informal conversations to communicate with your teammates. This is great for building team relationship. For example; the Words On Us team schedules 8:30pm every Friday for team bonding sessions which is usually led by a different team member. Similar activities can help your teammates keep in mind there’s always some relaxing virtual activity to look forward to at the end of every week. 

 

With these in consideration you can now,

Establish Remote Work Rules

It is quite easy to get carried away with remote working. Not having a colleague or boss physically available to supervise can have teammates too chill about tasks or out rightly neglecting them. Establishing remote work rules helps to kick out the “too chill” vibes within work hours and have everyone focused. For example:

  • Set remote work hours; Setting work hours helps your team prioritize their goals for every day at work. It’s more like a guide to doing work at the right time because remote work is done in a chill and comfortable and your teammates might seem to get carried away by how flexible their work schedule is thereby resulting to low productivity. Here’s a way the work hour rule can help your team. Say work hours are from 10am till 5pm and anyone who sends in work late (after work hours) gets to lead team bonding for two consecutive weeks (let’s face it, team bonding is more interesting when you are not leading and trying to calm everyone’s excited nerves). Basically, setting remote work hours makes your team feel like they actually back in their physical work space.
  • Set a timer for when individual or group tasks are due and you could also think of offering special rewards to teammates who turn in tasks hours before the deadline just to encourage them.

 

Now that the rules have been set in place, feel free to

Switch Things Up

Although it’s quite comfortable and easy to use a certain means of communication for your virtual team you might try to switch things up a notch. You may have always loved communicating daily via chat but it would be more exciting to try video conferencing with your teammates (Yes, camera-shy teammates inclusive) for face-to-face interaction. This helps in building your team’s relationship. Allow some time in your daily virtual meetings for greetings and introductions.

With these in place remote working will eventually become an easy and possibly fun activity for your teammates. Have it in mind that maintaining a productive remote work environment requires patience and 100 per cent cooperation from teammates. You cannot get a remote team to be productive when all teammates are not on the same page or working together towards a common goal.

 

Also, if you are having a hard time maximising your work hours to remain productive. Here’s just the method to help you.